Bryden Allen's Website

Variety Measures

In general, more and more people are gradually receiving greater equality and freedom throughout the world. So this is good. A few of our old established nations are getting worse – but on the other hand a lot of newer nations are getting a lot better e.g. in South America. So things are OK in this regard. And, as I mentioned before, democracy is doing very well all over the world. So this is very good.
            But unfortunately as regards “variety”, our track record over the past century is appalling. We humans are using all the world’s lands for our own purposes. And we just propagate a few selected agricultural species, which we use for our own purposes. So we are destroying the world’s huge variety of species of flora and fauna. This destruction of species is well recorded in all the world’s various scientific journals.
            And we are doing the same with the world’s variety of very different cultures. A century ago the world had many thousands of cultures, all with different languages, houses, clothing, implements and belief systems. This variety is all disappearing at a remarkable rate. This variety is usually measured in terms of different languages. And this number is decreasing at an alarming speed.


So – why is this happening? The answer is easy. We all love: our global media, our overseas trips and holidays, and our huge choice of foreign made products. In simple terms, we have created a “global village” for our own convenience. And naturally a “global village” will tend to support only one culture. And this is what we see. Thus all cities of the world look remarkably similar with the same houses, cars and buildings. And most people wear the same form of clothing everywhere.
            But I am a positive sort of person. I don’t want to dwell too much on this rapidly declining variety, which is occurring throughout the world. I want to tell you about what we can do to stop it. This is going to be horribly hard - but we can’t continue to do what we have been doing for the last century. This is what has caused all this huge loss of variety already. We have to do something different. And doing anything different is always going to be hard. And ultimately what I want to propose is something that will be far harder to do than even stopping “climate change”. But we can at least make a start from small easy beginnings.


If we are to give enough land to our wildlife to support its current variety, then the fundamental fact that all people must know is – “how much land does each person really need to support a sensible modern life-style”. In technical terms this means – “what is a minimum sensible footprint per person?” This is an important fact that the current world avoids knowing. (If people did know this fact, there might be an implied suggestion that people should change their ways to achieve this value.) So, in my Green Living book, I work out this figure myself. Of course this involved a huge amount of work. And the figure I came up with was 0.2 ha per person. The world average footprint is 2.3 ha (when I last read the value). So this means that, if everyone took on my sensible minimalist lifestyle, then our wildlife would be blest with 90% of the world’s land to use and propagate their variety. (And my figure assumes no pollution at all - so we would also overcome climate change at the same time.) Well I am sure you will be pleased to hear that this is not what I shall be suggesting.
            My ultimate proposal is that half the world’s land should be left for our wildlife. And this means that people’s footprints should not exceed 1.0 ha. This goal is not so hard to achieve. At present, many people in the world do live with footprints less than 0.2 ha. But these people are poor, and modern people would not regard their lifestyles to be adequate. The lifestyle I develop of 0.2 ha would be adequate, because I use modern techniques - but people would need still need to change their ways in a significant manner to achieve this value. But to achieve a footprint of less than 1.0 ha is relatively easy. The majority of people in the world already have footprints less than 1.0 ha. Thus all the normal people who live in Europe, China and the Indian sub-continent have footprints less than 1.0 ha. It is just the rich people of our world, (and the people of the less developed world, who haven’t learnt our modern techniques), who are causing the world’s problems. So, if we can just teach the minority of people how to change their ways, then our problem could be solved.


To persuade people to change their ways will be difficult. But this task can be done, if we simply implement these changes by slow degrees. Four possible steps are:
1)         I have worked out sensible lifestyle that will give people a footprint of 0.2 ha. So the first step is to show that this result can be obtained in a physical experiment involving 100 people. (This number of people is necessary because the experiment must include so many activities e.g. agriculture, water, energy, transport, building etc.) The full design details for this prototype community are naturally given in my Green Living book.
2)         The next step is to repeat this practical case in all the different terrains that exist in our world. And then all people in the world could come and see these prototypes. And so they would learn how little land we really do need to use, if we act in a sensible fashion. And all people, whose footprints are too large, must be forced to see these examples and study them carefully.
3)         Then people should accept that, if they have five times as much land as they really need, then this amount of land should be enough for them. And besides, this is what the majority of people in the world only have at the moment.
4)         So obeying this rule would mean that any land, which people might hold above 1.0 ha, would be taken away from them. This taken land would be used to form a “world wildlife park”. And this would be half the world’s land. And so the rich variety of our world’s wildlife can be preserved.
            This is a simple idea. Some day I will write more extensively on this subject. Then I will give a lot more details about how all people can be made to accept this change. Also I can give details about how all people could use this huge wildlife park without disturbing the animals at all. As a climber I have spent a large amount time in national parks. So I am very well aware of the problems that occur in large national parks and how they can be overcome. These world parks would primarily be for our wildlife – but all people should be able to walk through this land them and enjoy the park without interfering with the wildlife at all.


So now I have shown how we can maintain our current wildlife variety. My next problem is to show how we can regain some of all the cultural diversity the world had in previous centuries.
            The communities I develop in my “Green Living” book can again demonstrate how this problem be solved. If we join 16 of my small 100-person communities in a special way, then we can obtain a compact village community of 1600 people. This larger community can then give its people a much fuller social life and it would be capable of tackling many more jobs. So the community would be big enough to run its own small infants’ school.
            Finally then 62 of these village communities could combine together and they can form their own town centre. Then this community will have a total population of 100,000 people and this is big enough to form an independent town-state. (In my Green Living book I chose 25 villages to form a town-state of 40,000. There I chose the smallest number so that the task would be easier. But 100,000 people is a better sized community and it is an easier number to work with.) In my book I demonstrate how this town-state can be more self-sufficient than most nations are at the moment. Of course these states must engage in trade to obtain some basic materials (e.g. steel and concrete) and other sophisticated items (e.g. cameras and computers). Nevertheless this town-state would be very self-sufficient.
            This town-state would be now big enough to support its own culture. So this state can have: its own language, its own media system, clothing styles and even their own sports. So with independence, this state can develop its own culture, and thus the number of independent cultures in the world can start to expand again.
            In fact, if all the people in the world did this, then the world could support 70,000 completely different cultures. I am not suggesting this. But this self-sufficient system could certainly encourage the increase of cultures the world over again. And I don’t think it is possible for people to do any better than this for creating cultural diversity.
            (A common language would still be necessary for trade negotiations etc. Now I have also invented a very easy, simple language. This whole language could easily be learnt completely within a month. And this language is not associated with any current language and it does not even use their symbols (apart from the standard numeric symbols). So this language has no bias towards any particular culture. So this language could be used for international interactions. Currently English or Mandarin are being used for this purpose and these languages are long, complex, and they take years to learn. So these languages are terrible to use for this purpose. This language is introduced in my webpage in “A New Simple International Language” and the details are in “A New Simple International Language - book”(pdf).)


This huge variety of states and nations is very important for another reason. Nearly all people refuse to consider other different political forms. And capitalism currently dominates the scene and, unless its limitations are clearly recognised, over time this system leads to huge problems (as I show in The Unstable Nature of Life). With greater variety, people might start to realise that there are other ways of running a country. And so our political forms might start to improve again.
            Both the French and the Russian revolutions failed over time. But just their temporary existence forced other countries to improve their ways. The Chinese communism might eventually have a similar effect on our capitalist governments. But the world really needs to see a few small good democratic communist states in action - and these forms would allow people to get a different perspective. This is what the communism in my Green Living book can do. The system I use in my Society of Choice book can do the same for capitalism. But this system is a lot more complex. Both these systems can work. But to make them work, people must first be able to recognise all their current weaknesses.



You might now also like to look back at:

my "Home Page" (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages).


My next normal webpage is "A Summary of these Various Measures".


Updated on 17/11/2016.